Haunting memories of Bennerley School

editorial image

Staff and students said an emotional goodbye to a former Ilkeston school built more than 100 years ago.

Old friends and teachers turned out at an event to say farewell to the Bennerley School building in Cotmanhay, which is now empty and is being handed back to Derbyshire County Council.

Students reminisced about their time at the school and several recalled tales of a ghost that was said to haunt the old clock tower, which was formerly part of the school and dates back to 1892.

Gina Parry, 54, of Cotmanhay, remembers hearing rumours about the ghost who was called three-fingered Jack.

She said: “We were told that he was a former caretaker who chopped two of his fingers off while trying to change the clock in the tower.”

The school merged with Ormiston Ilkeston Academy in September 2013 and became Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy.

Students and staff are now based at the King George Avenue buildings in Ilkeston.

Former caretaker, Brian Meakin, of Cotmanhay, worked at Bennerley School between 1970 and 1993.

He said: “I remember there used to be an underground boiler room which was so hot, it was worse than going down the pit.”